A few days ago, after a walk with Lucy, I ate my lunch under a tree near my apartment. It was one of those perfect almost-Autumn days, and as I have for the past five-and-a-half years in New York, I watched life unfold around me. There was an old man who brought out a lawn chair and was sunbathing, some girls around my age talking up a storm (likely about the night before), a couple with their small baby and a snuggling two-some sneaking in kisses between the breeze.
And here I was, sitting awkwardly on my backpack, guilting myself for skipping an exercise class because I was tired, wondering when this guy that I met would text me back. As much as things have changed – and so have I – in all of this time, I still have to battle those same insecurities, regardless of how far I’ve come in my self-love journey. The park embodied so many of the things that I dream of having, and often times, I can count up the things I don’t have instead of taking stock in what I do. And though I can dream of the beautiful things I hope are before me, it’s hard to get past what’s in sight to believe in what you can’t see until it’s yours.
I turned over my iPhone and took a sip of water, rubbing my shoulders as the temperature started to drop, and I turned my attention on a kid’s birthday party. There was a grandfather with a toddler, laughing and chasing around each other until the babe accidentally let go of the red balloon she was holding. She started to cry, but her grandfather scooped her up and pointed to the sky.
I couldn’t hear what he said – I was too far away – but I imagine it was a distraction technique that somehow, piqued her interest away from a tantrum. The only thing was, all of the kids watched this happened and looked up…
…and they all let go of their balloons. Continue reading
It was about a month ago that I decided it was finally time to kick the bucket and log off. There was such a surge of power—and frankly, relief—when I deleted all of my dating apps. Tinder was the first to go, followed by Hinge and then Bumble.
When I read Vanity Fair’s article, ‘Tinder and the Dawn of the ‘Dating Apocalypse’—I found myself nodding along mindlessly, silently saying ‘Yep, yep, yep.’ I didn’t really need the article to tell me that dating apps had changed relationships, marriages and the process of finding someone that you want to see for longer than it takes to swipe left or right. That, I knew, from four hard years of being single and watching the whole process change and in many ways, worsen. Even my mom taking over my Tinder account for a week confirmed this.
But as the article points out several times, as we all continue to get online to find someone we connect with offline, I had to beg the question to myself: “Why was I investing all this time into something that makes me miserable?”
Like any true addict, it took me a week to wean myself off of my dating IV and to get rid of the shakes that made me anxious: “If I’m not on these apps, how will I meet people?! What will I do?” Continue reading
About a year ago, I was having one of those epic, ridiculous, totally immature meltdowns about some guy that waited 48 hours to respond to a text message. Now before you go judging me for stressing when a guy doesn’t text back right away, consider how many times you’ve been in my state of panic: you have an incredible first date with someone, you full-on make out with them outside of your apartment door, they text you a sweet good-night message… and then you don’t hear from them for days. And suddenly that once put-together, independent, and strong-willed woman that you usually are takes a back seat to the bat-sh*t crazy version of you that happens when you think you met someone who could be a something. Continue reading
On a trip back home, I recently connected with my high school boyfriend. He was that guy that so many have—the sweet, loyal and fun first relationship that’s the equivalent of a training bra: comfortable and exciting, but not something that can last forever. I broke up with him—quite dramatically—within my first few days of college because I wanted to experience all that the single life could offer me. I had been tied down most of high school, so why not explore?
It was a rough breakup and we stayed out of contact for the better part of the last nearly nine years, but with one Facebook message, we agreed to meet for our first legal drink together. I don’t have a car anymore — thanks NYC transit!— so just like he did all of those years ago, he stopped by my house to pick me up. As he walked up the stairs, my heart started racing with all of those butterflies that I felt when we first kissed, when we first had sex, when he told me he loved me. Continue reading
There’s no doubt that some things get better with age — wine, cheese, sex. But there are other things that change so much year-by-year, that it’s hard to look back at where you once were. And if you’ve been trying to find something shiny in a pool of lackluster dates, then you likely know that dating is different in your early 20s than it is in your late 20s.
Go ahead now and ask for forgiveness for what you tolerated when you were 21, because the approaching-30 you would shake your head at what once impressed you. The nice part about being single for multiple years — is that you figure out more and more what you want, what you don’t and what you’re willing to compromise on. And in some very powerful, awesome, ways, you also learn how to care less about how it all goes and expect more out of yourself and your future partner.
In case you need a good belly laugh or you a reminder of how far you’ve come — or where you’re headed — here’s what dating is really like in your 20s. Naturally, in GIFs, because those are fun through the entire decade.
Age 20: I So Don’t Need A Boyfriend/Girlfriend.
Being single in college is so fun! There are so many parties, so many eligible people, I don’t want to settle down. I have time. I mean, it’s not like I’m 25 or something.
After 10 days of heavy antibiotics (thanks to an impromptu trip the ER), when my friends suggested margaritas on a Friday night, I happily obliged. We went through our usual catching-up work — craziness, what exercise class we’re planning to go to, the awesome event we should all sign-up for — and then we turned to the most entertaining topic: dating.
The two ladies I happened to be snacking guac and downing tequila flights with that evening were single like me. And though we’re all at varying levels of singleness, we all settled on one little fact: it’s hard. But while they stayed mostly optimistic about it and at least somewhat excited about the prospect of new dates (that could hopefully, turn into more than happy hour partners) — I was on an entirely opposite end of the spectrum. I’m tired of dating. Continue reading
Subconsciously or consciously, how often do you find yourself apologizing? You slightly bump into a stranger and you mutter a ‘sorry.’ A co-worker interrupts you, and yet, you find yourself stammering to apologize first. Or, perhaps just as frequently, you find yourself talking about a bad date and when you feel like your friend has had enough, you quickly quiet yourself, say you’re ‘sorry for venting’ and move on.
It’s a habit that many women (and men) are guilty of and one that’s difficult to break. Continuously shaming yourself doesn’t help build your confidence, and oftentimes, can be unattractive to possible boyfriends or girlfriends who are looking for a partner, not someone who can’t hold their own. While it might not feel like it’s in your nature to stand up, speak up and be proud of your opinions, convictions and emotions, chances are, your date will be impressed with your willingness to be open, vulnerable and honest about how you think and feel.
In my past several years of being single and going on (way too many) dates, it’s taken me a lot of time (and wine) to finally figure out how to be brave enough to be myself. And while I haven’t met that right person yet, I have learned how to have courage and to stop apologizing for these things:
I’m not sorry that I expect you to communicate.
Online dating can wear on anyone – there’s constant back-and-forth exchanges, but very little face-to-face time to genuinely get to know someone. There’s also many messages to weed through that can be boring, rude or just plain ridiculous. For a while, I would always step up and speed up the conversation myself, oftentime apologizing for being so forward. The funny thing? Men never cared that I carried the conversation, but I did. In a future partner, I really want someone who is not only a talker, but that can ask interesting questions, have meaningful decisions and hopefully, teach me a thing or two from his own wealth of wisdom. I’m not sorry that I want a communicator – I’m sorry I ever thought I could settle for less than that. Continue reading